Thomas Snowdon Surf Photographer

Welcome to another episode of Surf Bank's Beyond The Frame where we dive into the captivating world of surf and ocean photography, going beyond mesmerising captures exploring the backstory of many talented photographers.

In this episode we will be hearing from Thomas Snowdon, passionate surf photographer who frequently shoots the Cornish coastline.

Beyond the frame aims to inspire and inform future surf photographers and ocean lovers being your backstage pass to detailed insights from the minds behind stunning surf shots.

Thomas Snowdon Surf Photographer Gallery

Thomas Snowdon Surf Photographer
Thomas Snowdon Surf Photographer
Thomas Snowdon Surf Photographer
Thomas Snowdon Surf Photographer
Thomas Snowdon Surf Photographer
Thomas Snowdon Surf Photographer
Thomas Snowdon Surf Photographer

What Did Your Childhood Look Like?

My childhood was mostly bodyboarding and diving amongst the waves enjoying myself as much as possible.

What Came First, Surfing or Photography?

For me photography came first, I had a camera in my hand from the age of 7.

It was only later in life that I began to see the connection between surf and photography and how the two correlate with one another.

How Did You Get Into Surf Photography?

I got into surf photography after reading up about some other photographers work and researching new angles to take images.

I already knew that underwater photography was a thing and nothing really that new but wasn't familiar to surf photography and the housings until after.

I often shoot with my inspiration Mike Lacey a brilliant surf and wave photographer based in Cornwall. When he will be in the water I will be on land shooting him in the water getting his photos whilst I shoot the waves from the shore.

Thomas Snowdon Surf Photographer
Photo By Thomas Snowdon

Where Do You Normally Shoot?

My go to place to shoot is either Porthleven or Porthcurrno, both have a variety of compositions that I can work with and I can also elevate my shots in ways I might not be able to anywhere else.

Where Do You Shoot? Water or Land?

I shoot on land.

As much as I would love to get into the water and shoot the waves as they curl over the top of me, it just isn't completely possible at this moment in time.

From being on the land and being low enough to the ground I am able to expose the opportunity.

What Makes The Perfect Image?

The perfect image for me is all about balance and I don't just mean the sky contrasting to the wave I also relate to the composition and colour of the image.

If their is brighter colours on one side, with more darker tones on the other the scale falls.

How Did You Become So Involved In The Surf Scene?

I became involved in the surf scene through Mike Lacey and through him I met up with surfers and occasionally shot with them having my main photography focus being primarily on the waves.

Do You Have A Favourite Photographer That Has Inspired You?

Mike Lacey has been a huge inspiration, but having worked with him in the gallery it allowed me to continue shooting with him in free time.

In 2023 I released a book 'Power of the Sea' which focuses heavily on the mental health benefits of our oceans through waves and colour psychology.

In the book I asked Mike if he could write a foreword for me and he did and has since helped me to establish my name in the surf world in small pushes.

What's Your Biggest Challenge To Overcome When Shooting?

My biggest challenge whenever I am shooting will always be the weather, if its too stormy I need to position myself behind rocks to protect myself as well as my gear.

When it is too sunny their can always be complications, however with the help of PhotoPills and other weather apps I am able to navigate to the best beaches and choose the best time of day to shoot high tide.

Thomas's Favourite Shot - Emerald

Thomas Snowdon Surf Photographer
Emerald By Thomas Snowdon

My all time favourite shot was taken at Gwithian; I was positioned in between the rocks looking across to hayle. The swell was incredible and sat about 12-14ft however their was wave in a set of 7 waves which stood out to me, it wasn't towering it was a lull in the set where the wave came across as calm and tranquil.

The wave showcased so many different colours from aqua blues to emerald greens whilst also showing the power through foam.

My best selling photo and my all time favourite photo is Emerald, calm and tranquil standing out the most in the biggest swell.

Personal Message From Thomas

To the vibrant and adventurous surfing community.

Ride the waves of life with passion and purpose, for every swell is an opportunity to embrace the untamed beauty of the ocean. Let the rhythm of the sea be your guide, and may each wave be a canvas for your unique expression.

In the vast expanse of the ocean, find solace, inspiration, and connection. Cherish the moments of weightlessness as you dance atop the water, and let the salty breeze rejuvenate your spirit. Surfing is more than a sport; it's a lifestyle, a culture, and a celebration of the profound bond between humanity and the sea.

Respect the ocean as you would a dear friend, recognising its power and unpredictability. Be stewards of the environment, leaving only footprints in the sand and taking with you memories that will last a lifetime. As you paddle out, remember that every wave tells a story, and each ride is an opportunity to create your own.

Celebrate diversity, welcome newcomers, and embrace the camaraderie that unites surfers worldwide. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a novice testing the waters, remember that the ocean is a great equaliser, offering endless possibilities for growth and self-discovery.

May your surf be smooth, your stoke eternal, and your connection to the ocean everlasting. Together, let's continue riding the waves of life with grace, humility, and an unquenchable thirst for the thrill of the ride.

Surf's up! With stoke and solidarity, Thomas Snowdon.

Thomas's Equipment List

Thomas Snowdon Camera

Camera & Lenses

Currently I use a variety of Sony A7r IV, Sony A7 IV, Sony 200-600mm F/6.3, Sony 16-35mm F/2.8, Sony 12-24mm F/4, Sony 50mm F/1.2 and Sony 24-250mm F/4.

Thomas Snowdon Surf Photographer
Photo By Thomas Snowdon

Thomas's Future Plans

As well as working as a Surf Photographer I also work full time as a Property Photographer for Nichecom. In the future I hope to own my own gallery, however these things take time and don't just happen overnight so I will be establishing my name at small craft fares across the year in Cornwall.

I have had the pleasure of working with some amazing people and photographers shooting at all times of day possible but the one person I loved working with was Peter Edkins.

I caught the moment he was carving his way through a pipe from the shore on his paddleboard. Such a pleasure to have photographed him and looking forward to shooting with more surfers over the next few years!

Thomas Snowdon Surf Photographer


You can keep up to date with Tom's work on Instagram as well as his website. To contact him use his email below

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Thomas Snowdon Surf Photographer
Photo By Thomas Snowdon

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